The time away from the blog has done me well in terms of refocusing and re-aligning my priorities as an entrepreneur, author, husband, father and a minister.  Deep introspective reflection has brought about a new zest and zeal for the small things in life: Basketball.

As the season of spring emerges, so comes the ascent of vegetation, fruit and flowers.  Typically, this season sheds new light on debris, dirt and trash that was the result of the winter.

It is also during this time that sports junkies prepare for March Madness – the NCAA basketball tournament that crowns a national champion at its completion.  It is fitting, at this particular time, that ESPN airs the famous Fab Five on its 30-for-30 series.

Aside from the fact that the Fab Five represent a cultural phenomenon that impacted and changed the game of basketball, they also accomplished the incredulous feat all while donning jerseys bearing the name of an elitist institution.

Never before, or since, has a team of underclassmen led a Division 1 institution to two back-to-back NCAA finals.  With the increase of “one-and-done” college players, we can be certain to never experience this again.

Being a native Detroiter (45 miles east of University of Michigan), I grew up around the game of basketball where my peers included Terry Mills, Derrick Coleman and teammate Willie Burton.  As did Jalen Rose and Chris Webber, I too spent countless summers at St. Cecilia’s and other popular basketball venues.  However, it was not until I went to college that I learned the true value of education and the respect for those who attained the same.

During the 30-for-30 episode, Jalen Rose referred to Grant Hill and other Black Duke University recruits as “Uncle Tom’s.”  Jalen’s comments about Grant (and his family) were, in my opinion, very ill-stated.  We must remember that not only did Grant inherit the infamous tag of being the next “Jordan,” to this day, he continues to epitomize class, grace, humility and leadership.  Born of a famous football player and professional mother, Grant was afforded and ensured an advantage that many of us strongly seek for our children today.

To suggest that all Black Duke players were “Uncle Toms” is a gross generalization, in my estimation.  For those of you who may be unaware, being labeled an Uncle Tom is nothing short of a compliment (See The Uncle Tom In Me).

I applaud, Jalen, Chris and Grant for their feats on and off the court.  I also appreciate their perspectives on life and the game of basketball.  Each one of them, in their way, has helped to shape Black culture and the game of basketball as we know it today.

*A special thanks goes to Errol Anthony Wilkes for his contritution to the book “Daddy, Am I Pretty?”  The following is taken from the publication that went on sale Father’s Day of 2010.

Dear Priscia Liliane,

This year will mark the 10th anniversary of your Mom’s passing. Dec 11, 1999 started out the typical for us during the theatre season. I was supposed to have two shows and you had your dance recital to do that afternoon. Little did we know that our life as we know it would change, forever.

That day when I saw the remnants of the car that was once driven by the woman I pledged to love and protect, I prayed to wake up from the obvious nightmare. Alas, it was not a dream. Was it some cruel joke that God was playing? Why dear God did this happen a couple weeks before Christmas? And, on the day I was to buy the Christmas tree! Well, the deed was done. I remember Tony Baker and Mr. Astley telling me that the last thing I should ask myself was “why me”. Of course, that did not stop me from making that query. I was understandably pissed at God. We had just bought that house less than 6 months and we had just begun to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Now instead of planning for Christmas, I was planning a funeral. Ironically, I have gained more faith because you must use your trials and tribulations as opportunities to achieve successes.

The worst day was when all our guests finally left and we walked into that empty house. I looked at you, barely 12 years old and life had to suck for you at that time knowing that Mom was gone and never to return.  I made a pact with myself that day. I decided to live life to the fullest and to make sure that you grew up to be a great citizen.

I know some of the things I forced on you were not your cup of tea but I felt that in order for you to succeed, I had to remain vigilant. That’s why I insisted that you read Manchild In The Promised Land, Huck Finn and all those other great works of literature. That’s why I insisted that you listen to Coltrane, Bach and Vivaldi. That’s why I took you to all those Plays and Museums! That’s why I didn’t let “headaches” keep you from attending school. That’s why I taught you how to cook our native dishes and sang those folk songs you now have your friends call for me to sing to them over the telephone.

I felt that right or wrong as a Black person and a West Indian in this my adopted land, it is highly imperative that one has to be much better than others competing for the same job. I tried to instill in you that great study habits and hard work pays off.

It took me a year after Marie’s passing before I started to try to date. I kept my relationships away from you because as predicted most of them did not last long. Your aunt Maxine stated that I was too busy looking for another Marie. Well, there may be truth to that because your mother was a very beautiful and special lady. She was very passionate about her opinions and that lead to some of our most heated discussions that usually left me sleeping on that lumpy and unappetizing couch!

Sometimes I am haunted by the memories of that very last argument we had because she died before we made up. The lesson here is that we should always mend our fences and disagreements prior to going to sleep.

I remember that Sunday in August 2005 after you were installed at Dillard University, I cried on the way back to Houston. I was darn near Baton Rouge before I stopped crying. That was only because I could not see out of my extremely swollen eye lids.

Then came Katrina and you moved even further away to FAMU. The good thing is that you occasionally get to see your Mom’s family in Valdosta. Yes Prisca, that is a good thing. Family is family and I want you to learn their culture as well. It is what you are.

I want you to continue working hard. I know I preach a lot about grades and you get a bit testy whenever I do, but you know what? Tough. That is who your Dad is and I don’t suppose I am about to change now. I did not get where I am today by half stepping and as long as I am alive, I will not allow you to be mediocre at anything in this life. This is why you get frustrated when you call me for advice and I don’t tell you what you want to hear. My love for you just will not allow me to lie to you.

I know I normally write my letters to you with my trusted fountain pen but I am trying to evolve into the 21st century. Since it took me so long to write this one, look for my subsequent letters in your mail box.

You have grown into a strikingly beautiful young lady and as I have said to you many times before. The right guy will come along. After all, Mom and I found each other. Do not make any compromises with your life that will come back to haunt you. Everything and every choice you make in life has consequences. You have to learn that patience in the case of love is a good thing. There are some good guys out there and one day one will be yours. Right now your job is to finish your college studies and be a well-rounded individual. Real men dig smart women, trust me on that one.

I close now with this last bit of advice. It is my high school motto LABOR OMNIA VINCIT. It’s Latin and means “work overcome all difficulties”.

With All My Love,

Dad

A copy of the book “Daddy, Am I Pretty?” can be obtained at www.FootprintsBooks.com .

The other day, while making one of my quick scans through Facebook, my attention was drawn to commonly seen message in the right column on the main page.  The right column typically serves as a reminder of birthdays, pokes, people you may know and finally, friends (a loosely used term on FB but that’s another blog for another day) or acquaintances to reconnect with – as if to suggest, you haven’t visited their page in a while.  On this particular occasion, the profile picture of a late friend appeared under the message, “reconnect with Jan” (real name intentionally withheld).

My thoughts shifted to myself and the legacy (or lack thereof), that I may leave behind once my existence is no longer physical.  How will I be remembered?  Because Facebook, Twitter, Myspace or even my Yahoo account will not know that I’ll no longer be logging on; what will come to mind when friend, family, strangers see my name or a profile picture of an individual who has passed this earthly existence? 

The litany and laundry list of responses to those questions are sure to vary person-to-person.  To some I’ve been a confidant – to others a broadcaster.  To some, a minister – to others an enemy.  To some, a source of employment, security and financial viability – to others a mere liability.  To some a facilitator of dreams – to others, a worse nightmare.

The totality of who I am and the life I’ve lived cannot be contained in a mere blog.  The reality of the life I’ve chosen, or the life that has chosen me bears the question as uttered by the famous gospel recording group, The Clark Sisters, “Is my living in vain?”

When the sun sets on my earthly existence I am simply hopeful that I’m remembered as someone who tried to help somebody, everyday. The funny thing about legacies is that we’ll never be around to witness them.

I close this blog with a quote from Evangelist Billy Graham: “Our days are numbered. One of the primary goals in our lives should be to prepare for our last day. The legacy we leave is not just in our possessions, but in the quality of our lives. What preparations should we be making now? The greatest waste in all of our earth, which cannot be recycled or reclaimed, is our waste of the time that God has given us each day.”

D’s 2¢

by Sabin Duncan

There is a scene in the movie The Best Man, where Terrance Howard’s character attempts to assuage his friend’s fears by assuring that “karma don’t come back like that.”  As a father of two beautiful girls, I am certain that I am not alone in hoping that karma indeed does not come back like that.

At the moment we first find out we’re having a daughter, every father flashes back to all the things that he has done to and with someone else’s daughter.  It is at that moment, despite religious standing or affiliation, every father-to-be communicates with God.  A communication, a prayer, or more than likely a plea, that begins with these two words: “Lord, please”.

From that initial moment of humility and probably for the duration of our days, we are never the same.  We attempt to stand rigid, but when those pretty eyes sparkle and coo “please daddy”, we melt faster than ice cubes in a heated oven.  When baby girl cries, our chest expands, our bravado multiplies and our ego rages – because whoever did this to our baby girl, they are about to be victimized by our ferocity.  Yet somehow, the money you had begun saving for a huge high-definition television, becomes easily spent when lil’ mama needs a pretty dress and sandals.  Indeed, we are never as tough as we were before daughters.

Yet I’m here to say that unlike the rest of you, I can tell my daughters, “no!”  In fact, I supplement my “no” with a crazed hysterical look that shouts, “what the heck were you thinking?”  But my girls work with charm – hey, what can I say?  They get it from their dad.  They climb into my lap and use their little fingers to outline my eyebrows or mustache.  Then they tuck their little chins to their chest and look up from under those long eyelashes.  They shrug their little shoulders and affectionately murmur: “daddy….”  The rest of the statement doesn’t matter, because this daddy springs into action. “What!! You can’t find your Princess Tiana Barbie? Well, go get your jacket.  Daddy will get you a new one.”  Later, as we proceed to the cash register of Toys’ R Us, I stoop down and plead with my little ladies, “don’t tell your mama, ok?”

This post is originally featured in Daddy, Am I Pretty? by Damon E. Duncan.  Order Your Copy today!

In addition to our musings, lamentations, Black History facts and celebrity interviews, FathersFootprints also uses this medium as an opportunity to broadcast the achievements of local urban entertainment entrepreneurs.

Today’s interview is with the SEIDEMG CEO, Patrick Kelley.

Tell us about SEIDEMG?
Our mission at SEIDEMG/KDS, INC. is to build strength in our business brands, while creating value through employee team building and business partnerships. We believe that relations are bridge-ways for growth, longevity and sustainability, thus, calculated camaraderie will be the driving force as our company pushes forward!

Since October of 1996 the founders (Patrick “Smooth P” Kelly & Charles “Chuck” Dobey of then SEID Entertainment started a mission to empower the independent artist with support while educating them on the music business. SEID, which stands for strength, endurance, independence and determination, was and still is the moniker that drives the ambition and creativity of the company.  In 2001 Keith “A-Man” Cooper joined the company and the owners embraced a production division which became EMG or ESS Studios. This division was in charge of all aspects of music productions, artist showcases and promotions.  Later that year “The UrbanSpotlight” was envisioned by co-founder Patrick Kelly. It was held at the infamous Shark Bar Restaurant & Lounge in Midtown Atlanta and ran for over a thirteen month period.  Through this and many other showcases, artist development, artists features, vocal coaching, and live performances…SEID Entertainment was able to witness its vision and passion come to life.

On December 17th, 2009 SEIDEMG merged with KDS, INC. to become SEIDEMG/KDS, INC. Upon that merger the company gained the music website IWOVUMUSIC.COM which is now being adapted for booking independent artists throughout the Southeast Region. SEIDEMG also has four other divisions including the “From My Block Ta Yo Block” Live Show & Reality Series “Going Hard With Pat & Chuck,” SEIDEMG Printing & Promotions, Lenny Wheat Clothing and SEIDEMG Music Entertainment Management.

Now over 13 years in the making, the company, SEIDEMG/KDS, INC., is more focused than ever. Its artist management division has several projects in the works such as the mixtape” Cadillac Uncut Dope Vol. 1 series 1-4″ and “The Jump Fresh AllStars.”  SEIDEMG has also signed San Antonio’s Rapper/Producer Marc Twang & Knock City Ent., provided artistic and creative services for the gospel play “Who Killed Uncle Pete, Dj Quick and International Dance Star Kevin Bryant and co-directed Kevin Bryant’s “Who You Wanna Be” music video with the re-mix single produced by the Mega Dance Dj Bob Sinclar for Launch Entertainment. SEIDEMG/KDS, INC. also launched Lenny Wheat Clothing on Jan 5th, 2010, started the live entertainment show “From My block Ta Yo Block” at the Spring4th Center which runs every Tuesday.

You are seeking talent in the music and entertainment industry. What is the focus of your management company and how was this vision derived?
The focus of SEIDEMG Management is to not only sign talented artists, but to sign artist who are a “triple threat.”  This means that we are only looking to work with an artist if their talent includes singing, rapping & producing and or song writing and dancing.  We believe that an artist’s relationship should be that of a partnership; both forces joining together to build greatness.

Your company is currently hosting talent shows at Blush Ultra lounge in Atlanta every Tuesday evening.  Tell us about some of the talent that has displayed at your event.
As far as the show being a showcase…”From My Block Ta Yo Block” Live show is not considered a showcase.  What we do in our live show is force our talent to be creative, to think outside the box with our song and jingle building contest as well as the freestyle battles where we pick the topic of conversation.  Our live show also pushes the artist to hone their craft and build on their talent through live performances that are judged by industry professionals.

What can we look forward to from SEIDEMG in the near future?
In addition to the live show, SEIDEMG is also currently filming it’s reality series “Going Hard With Pat & Chuck” which we are hopeful to obtain national distribution as well as promoting its online music website iwovumusic.com and SEIDEMG Printing & Promotions. You can always find a friendly, considerate and courteous professional with SEIDEMG!

To learn more about SEIDEMG, log onto their website at www. http://seidemg.com/.

Until next time,

By now it is no secret that former Florida State Seminole safety Myron Rolle is the epitome of a student-athlete.  A recent NFL draft (Tennessee Titans), Myron earned Academic All-America honors in 2008.  Awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University, Myron recently earned an M.S. in medical anthropology.

With youth aspirations of becoming and NFL player and a medical doctor, Myron can check one of his dreams off his list, with the second surely to follow suit.

In a world where Black Professional Athletes have become synonymous with crime, affairs, gambling and other illicit behaviors, Myron is a breath of fresh air that we are sure to enjoy for years to come.

Myron excels in the world of academia and sports.

Over the past year FathersFootprints has written features such as When Will My Brothers Start Reading, The Uncle Tom In Me and Remembering Len Bias to point out shortcomings, inconsistencies and to promote overall awareness and responsibility within the race.

Myron Rolle is our answer to all the stereotypical images of unintelligent, Black athletes who desire nothing more than jewelry, women and exotic cars.  Myron will do for us now what Paul Robeson did in during the 40’s and 50’s.

Our grandparents dreamt of a day when kids would play in the sandbox and pretend to not only be like Mike (Jordan), but to also be famous surgeons like Ben (Carson).  As told by Langston Hughes at the conclusion of the poem A Dream Deferred, Myron Rolle represents the dream that has exploded.

Util next time,

Dorothy Irene Height (March 24, 1912 – April 20, 2010)

Pioneering civil rights activist, Dorothy Irene Height, died at the age of 98 at Howard University Hospital, where she had been in serious condition for many weeks.

Height, who marched alongside Martin Luther King Jr. and led the National Council of Negro Women for 40 years, was known for her determination and grace. She remained active and outspoken well into her 90s and often received rousing ovations at events around Washington, where she was easily recognizable in the bright, colorful hats she almost always wore.

Dorothy Height was recognized by President Obama as “the godmother of the civil rights movement” and a hero to Americans.  More importantly, she was also a hero to Black-Americans

Some of Height’s notable accomplishments include:

  • Received two of the nation’s highest honors: the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004
  • In 1957, Height was named president of the National Council of Negro Women, a position she held until 1997
  • In 2004, Height was recognized by Barnard for her achievements as an honorary alumna during its commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision
  • Pledged and served as National President of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority
  • Listed on Molefi Kete Asante’s list of 100 Greatest African=Americans

Just four days after I buried my maternal grandmother, the world loses yet another civil rights icon.  The question begs whether or not we will ever experience the kind of significant Black leadership that stapled the 60’s. 

On April 20, 2010, the world lost a notable African-American Administrator, Educator, and Civil Rights Activist.  It literally took Dorothy almost 100 years to witness the first African-American to be elected to the office of President of the United States.  It is without question that her diligence past efforts helped to paved the way for a White House with two little Black girls.

Reaching higher Heights,